Journalist Ross Gregory has claimed that Newcastle United weakened their squad in January, and that could cost them amid Nick Pope’s recent red card.

What’s the latest on Newcastle and their transfer business?

Eddie Howe and co suffered a fairly major setback last weekend when they lost 2-0 at St James’ Park to Liverpool in the Premier League.

Not only did they lose points against a rival in the race for top four, but they also saw their goalkeeper pick up a red card. As a result, Pope will now be suspended for the Carabao Cup final.

In January, the Magpies brought back Martin Dubravka from his loan at fellow finalists Manchester United but he won’t be able to play as he’s cup-tied and alternative option Karl Darlow was loaned out, meaning Loris Karius is in line to start.

While speaking about it all on NUFC Matters, Gregory questioned the wisdom of the club’s winter transfer business, explaining how it may hurt them in the long run.

He said: “They knew Anthony Gordon was cup-tied. In January, Newcastle let go three players in Jonjo Shelvey, Chris Wood and Karl Darlow, who were all eligible for the Carabao Cup.

“They brought in three players, two of whom were cup-tied, so it’s a little bit of a misstep, for me. All it needed was Nick Pope to get injured and it would’ve been the same situation with Loris Karius having to start or Mark Gillespie on the bench.

“So I just felt it was a mistake. I said at the time I thought Newcastle were leaving themselves a little bit light and actually weakened the squad in January rather than strengthened it.

“Unfortunately, the Bruno [Guimaraes] suspension and then the Nick Pope suspension has come at really bad times and left Newcastle a little bit short in a couple of key areas.

“Anthony Gordon, we spent £45m on him – he hasn’t started a game. He’s obviously being eased in. It just frustrates us a little bit. But the club haven’t made many errors, haven’t made many missteps. This one was a little error, for me, but hindsight’s a wonderful thing at the same time.”

How does Newcastle’s winter window affect the Carabao Cup final?

As Gregory explained, returning loanee Dubravka and ex-Everton ace Gordon ended up as Newcastle players in January, but both are cup-tied for the weekend.

This won’t impact Howe’s plans week-to-week in the Premier League but it may be significant at Wembley this weekend. What’s more, with Wood and Shelvey also leaving, the club have lost two squad players without getting like-for-like replacements.

Shelvey may have been handy to have in the middle of the park in recent weeks with Guimaraes suspended for the past three games. While Wood would certainly be a good attacking option in the cup final, with Gordon set to be absent.

All in all, it’s easy to see why Gregory feels the club may have made a few mistakes in the winter market and they could come back to haunt them at Wembley this weekend.


NUFC Matters with Steve Wraith and Ross Gregory

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